An exhausted Cameron Smith fought back tears as his grandfather inspired a final push for a third Australian PGA Championship and described a dramatic homecoming.
The Brisbane favorite in 2010 He rallied after twice being forced off the course to win his fifth title in 2022 at Royal Queensland on Sunday with a blistering thunderbolt to win by three shots.
Playing in Australia for the first time in three years, the world No. 3 was followed by thousands of adoring fans following his every move over four days.
The Open Championship winner admits there are doubts he has the energy to add to the 2017 and 2018 championships.
But he found inspiration in his grandmother, Carol, who had completed a second round of chemotherapy, walking the 72 holes by his side.
“I can’t believe she made it; everybody was telling her to go away but she was there all day, every day,” said Smith, who also said it was his father Des’ birthday.
“Amazing, inspiring, I don’t know how she did it. When I came back[after the bogey on the 11th hole]I wanted to make it for those two.
Smith (68, 65, 69, 68) finished at 14-under and three over Jason Scrivener and Ryo Hisasune, England’s John Parry tied for fourth with Min Woo Lee and David Micheluzzi (eight under) was just sixth.
Following his victory at St. Andrews, he moved to the LIV Tour earlier this year with two US PGA Tour wins and another in Chicago.
There could be more, with Smith eyeing the maiden Australian Open title in Melbourne from Thursday.
Smith received the keys to the city and his second Greg Norman Medal to kick off the week, as well as the nickname and a round of golf with NRL idol Cameron Smith.
He finished as the youngest three-time winner of the Kirkwood Cup in his trademark maroon shirt.
“It’s been great; the reception from everyone has been amazing and then the guys I see on the football pitch asking me for a beer or a game of golf … it’s great,” he said.
Scrivener led after two rounds but was seven shots behind Smith on Saturday before the rally.
A Smith bogey last time out was undone by Scrivener and the Japanese talent, forcing him into his bag of tricks.
First off the rough, he wedged it over the tree and into the 12th green for birdie.
He then nailed a six-foot birdie putt on the 13th and sealed the score with another on the 16th to add to his 2017 and 2018 titles, both won at Gold Coast Royal Pins.
Scrivener birdied the 15th, but knew his hopes of a first title since 2017 were over when he rolled off the green on the 17th and looked into the back corner of a covered bunker.